Proven Leadership & a Strong Voice for the People
The Greater Bowie Democratic Club Is Growing!
The District 23A Delegate Scholarship Program
The cycle for determining scholarships will begin each year in January, and conclude in early May. In order to qualify for a Delegate Scholarship you must first file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1st. This form may be downloaded at FAFSA. Additionally, you must live within the 23A Legislative District to qualify. If you are not sure what legislative district you reside in, please click here to check. Due to the volume of applications we receive it is your responsibility to ensure that you are applying to the correct legislative district. If you have any questions regarding the scholarship application please call my office at 301-858-3101 or contact us via e-mail.
Learn more about the Delegate Scholarship program here.
New Legislative Year As you know, January is the beginning of the new legislative term for the Maryland General Assembly. I am looking forward to getting back to work for all of you and taking on some new exciting legislative priorities. I am enjoying my new position on the Appropriations Committee and in particular my seat on the Subcommittee on Health and Human Resources. I plan on introducing legislation aimed at providing cost of living increases to our neediest Maryland families and exploring additional ways to ensure that new mothers and babies have their nutritional needs met. This is one of the surest methods of helping these families thrive from the earliest days. One of my main legislative initiatives this year will be legislation to allow families with suicidal members to obtain a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO). Read the complete newsletter here.
2018 State of Maryland Budget (1/19/18) The budget was released this week. I sit on the Appropriations Committee and will have many hours of hearings on the budget. The Budget Process is long and will be reviewed and approved by both Houses before the end of the legislative session in April. The Maryland Constitution sets the guidelines for the state budget and specifically states that the General Assembly can reduce or restrict money in the budget, but the legislature may not add to the operating budget or move money from one program to another. The Governor must be directly contacted by you if you have concerns about him not funding certain programs like mental health and developmental disability providers, whose rates were slashed from the scheduled 3.5% increase we passed last session. More information here.
HB 635/Chapter 168 - Homicide by Motor Vehicle or Vessel While Impaired by Controlled Dangerous Substance - Penalties I am proud to share with you the newsletter from AAA, detailing a bill I fought to see get enacted for three years. I introduced this bill after hearing many tragic stories of families torn apart by drugged driving fatalities and their feelings of helplessness as they watched when the judge could only give the repeat offender a maximum of three years. Read my newsletter here.
MAGLEV Proposal Update I have great concerns over proposed routes through heavily populated areas which would greatly disrupt long established neighborhoods for a train which I feel would be of little use to the average citizen due to the expense involved. The MAGLEV project has proposed alignments which travel through Baltimore City, Howard County, Anne Arundel, and Prince George’s, however the train will have only scheduled stops in Baltimore, BWI and the District of Columbia. For the rest of us, we may have disrupted communities, destroyed neighborhoods and years of construction for an expensive commuter train to serve wealthy clients from DC to Baltimore with no benefits to the local communities. Please read the letter that Senator Douglas J. Peters and I recently sent to our colleagues concerning this issue. More information regarding the MAGLEV proposed alignment routes may be found here. Additional information can be located in the BWRR proposal and in the September 5th MDOT presentation to the City of Bowie. am also sharing with you an email I recently sent to the County Legislative Director. I have been trying to bring public awareness to this project by publicizing the meetings and announcements of the Maryland Department of Transportation. The state of Maryland has put no money into this project, thus, I have had no opportunity to weigh in on this project at the legislative level. The funding is coming from the federal government, private industry and the government of Japan. I will continue to facilitate spreading the word regarding these public meetings. I have requested a list of all public officials along the proposed routes so that the Senator and I can coordinate meetings between MDOT and these officials, as well as a separate meeting between the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the officials. I will work with these other public officials to present a united front.
Please read this letter from Chief David Morris, President of the Maryland Police Chiefs Association, regarding HB 1043. I introduced this bill in the Maryland Legislature to prohibit “a driver of a motor vehicle from smoking or consuming marijuana in the passenger area of a motor vehicle on a highway; and prohibiting an occupant of a motor vehicle from smoking marijuana in the passenger area of the motor vehicle on a highway.” Please contact your respective state senators and have them urge JPR Chairman Senator Zirkin to put HB 1043 to a committee vote so the bill can be heard and voted on by the
full Senate. Read the letter here and contact your state senators today.
Capital Gazette/Bowie-Blade News: Cleanup Ahead for Bowie Race Track Property
The Bowie Race Track property will get some much-needed sprucing up in the months ahead, thanks to a signed memorandum of understanding between the site owner and the city of Bowie. Read the full article here.
Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association: Lawmaker Floats Amendment of Bowie Training Property
A Maryland lawmaker has offered a legislative amendment that would make the Bowie Training Center eligible for racetrack capital improvement funds generated by video lottery terminals at the state’s casinos...
Democratic Delegate Geraldine Valentino-Smith, during a Feb. 15 hearing by the House Ways and Means Committee, said her amendment would add the Bowie Training Center to the list of facilities eligible to use the Racetrack Facilities Renewal Account, which is funded by 1% of VLT revenue. Prince George’s County, the City of Bowie, and local residents said it is imperative the historic piece of property be regularly maintained given it serves as a gateway to the city... Read the full article here.
Citizen Action Needed to Save Regional Medical Center and Cardiac Care for Our County
The latest Maryland Heath Care Cost Commission (MHCC) actions will negatively impact the Prince George's County Regional Medical Center and Cardiac Care Program. Your action is needed. Get details here.
The Washington Post: Hospital Fight
A January 23 article in The Washington Post discusses my opposition (as well as the objections of other lawmakers from Prince George's County) to state approval of a heart surgery unit at Anne Arundel Medical Center, a project which will impair the fledging cardiac program in the Prince George’s hospital system.
Read the full article here.
The Baltimore Sun: PG County Delegation: AAMC Cardiac Surgery Program Will Hurt County's Regional Medical Center
A January 25 article in The Baltimore Sun reports on our press conference regarding the opposition our delegation — including the county executive, county council and senate and house delegations — has to the proposed MHCC plans. "The recommendation for AAMC's program is in "blatant violation" of the Maryland state health plan, said Del. Geraldine Valentino-Smith (D-District 23A). She added that the plan is supposed to give all Marylanders the chance to access of health care. The commission's decision appears to have turned a blind eye toward the exact criteria it has set up," she said."
Read the full article here.
Delegate Geraldine Valentino-Smith speaks at a press conference to save Prince George's County Regional Medical Center.
Development Near Sacred Heart
I am opposed to development near Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Route 450 in Bowie, and I've recently submitted a bill for consideration by the General Assembly that would forestall any county action on the zoning change request until a new Bowie vicinity master plan is completed and approved. Get the story (via The Capital Gazette) here.
House of Delegates Resolution honoring Bowie State University President Dr. Mickey L. Burnim during Bowie State University Day in Annapolis
Talking with visiting Bowie State University Students as part of Bowie State University Day in Annapolis
Geraldine Valentino-Smith represents District 23A in the Maryland Legislature. The district includes portions of Southern Laurel, Bowie, and Glenn Dale. Click here for a district map.
It is my privilege to represent the citizens of Legislative District 23A. I try to share news of importance to all of us throughout the year. My newsletters can be found at the links below.
I am always happy to hear from you on state issues of importance to you or to try to lend some assistance if you have encountered a problem or need information on a government program. You can always call me at 301-858-3101 and my office will get back in touch. You can also send me an email. If you are seeking information on legislation at the state level, you can obtain a status or watch hearings here.
Again, thank you for the honor of being your Delegate. I love my job and appreciate your vote of confidence.